Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn said cyclists were a big problem for driverless cars, ahead of its planned launch of semi-autonomous cars this year

Renault chairman and chief executive Carlos Ghosn has claimed that cyclists are proving to be the biggest challenge to the development of driverless cars.

Mr Ghosn, who is also chairman and CEO of Nissan, said that Renault will launch is first, semi-autonomous driverless cars this year, which can accelerate, steer and stop on its own.

But Ghosn boss said bicycles on the roads were a serious obstacle to driverless cars, with cyclists baffling the vehicles’ on-board technology.

“One of the biggest problems is people with bicycles,” Mr Ghosn told CNBC.

“The car is confused by them because from time-to-time they behave like pedestrians and from time-to-time they behave like cars.”

“They don’t respect any rules usually,” Mr Ghosn added.

But Jason Torrance, policy director at cycling advocacy group Sustrans, said that the technology needed to put the safety of pedestrians, as well as cyclists, first.

“Advocates of driverless cars often forget that people live next to roads and use them regularly, so safety must be prioritized especially when normal unpredictable and legal human behavior comes into contact with driverless machines,” Mr Torrance said.

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Last August, a cyclist was involved in a bizarre stand-off at traffic lights with a self-driving Lexus, which struggled to react to the cyclist’s trackstand at a red light.

Renault’s launch of their first partially-driverless vehicles this year will be followed by a vehicle that can change lanes on motorways in 2018, with a fully autonomous car planned for 2020.

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month saw Audi, Ford, Toyota and Volvo all announce plans for their own driverless cars as manufacturers race to get their autonomous vehicles on the market first.

  • lee

    If and when techies sort this situ. – the paradigm is if manufacturers will sort the boredom of people on the cars.

    Like for instance I’m sure cyclists will be well protected BUT the humans inside will be soo bored they’ll turn the autothing off and take it’ll be driving TOO perfect that they’ll be embarrassed how bad their driving actually is! lol

    We’ve all had bad overtakes etc..the computer-controlled car will wait and wait and wait and wait and it’ll be a case of humans in cars going FRENZILY-CRAZY from what I can foresee.. Then there’ll be cameras watching the people to see if they’ve influenced the car which has caused a catastrophe..

    My, what a mine-field.

  • John Harshbarger

    Well said. A person on a bike should not been seen as the same as a car, or as a pedestrian. That is the perfect way to invite trouble. A bicycle is a unique class of transportation that has elements of both.

  • John Harshbarger

    If driverless cars can’t properly deal with traffic already on the streets, perhaps the technology is simply not ready. Bicycles are not cars and they are not pedestrians. They have elements of both and driverless cars need to be built to recognize this. If they can’t, then they have no place on city streets.

  • wheelchaser

    A failure or two with injuries or death will likely slow the impetus of driverless cars dramatically. It’s down right scary to me thinking cars are passing by with the driver texting while eating a sandwich.

  • Walter Crunch

    One can only hope that gas prices go to 15 dollars a gallon so people realize how horrible their car is.

  • If “cyclists” would keep their silly little children’s toys on the sidewalk where they belong, this wouldn’t be an issue.

  • The Awakening

    RE: “Renault CEO says cyclists are the biggest problem for driverless cars”

    In short, the Renault CEO is saying;

    “…..cyclists are the biggest problem…..”

    IMHO, a more truthful summary would have been;

    “Renault CEO says driverless cars are the biggest problem for cyclists”

    In short;

    “…….driverless cars are the biggest problem……..”

  • Sounds like a bad sci-fi movie. Driverless car becomes self aware and starts hunting down cyclists.

  • ummm…

    it is just a few knuckle heads at worst, not the whole company. they are just too lazy to do the programming. not like this is going to hit the market anytime soon anyhow.

  • ummm…

    well it appears that cyclists sometimes have the physical profiles of a pedestrian, but inhabit the road space of cars. it just means a third catagory has to be accounted for in their calculation. it is not about cyclists acting “conservatively”, whatever that means, but cars recognizing another class of road user.

  • ummm…

    not convinced it would be more of a problem than cars with drivers. The insurance sector would have great interest in working out the kinks prior to launch.

  • ummm…

    it will become an insurance issue, and that would force the situation to resolve itself if it cannot do so without impetus.

  • TrevorHoldsworth

    “They don’t respect any rules usually,” Mr Ghosn added.
    Total B/S Mr Ghosn does not understand that two-wheeled vehicles are more prone to ice, petrol/oil spill, gusts of wind, potholes, broken glass, rocks, stones. These hazards are far more commonplace than unruly cycles. Most motorists never see or are aware of those kind of hazards. Simply put – his technology isn’t ready.


  • Rupert the Super Bear

    I’m sure in time it still won’t!

  • Mark Jones

    A nice way to alienate all the car drivers who also cycle. I will think twice about buying a car from either company with that sort of attitude.

  • Malaprop

    provided the cyclist acts conservatively and consistently, whihc they apparently don’t. So its not quite the opposite.

  • MikeWeb7
  • Michael

    Not really.

    If drverless cars behave like cars and obey the rules they are less of a problem than cars with drivers.

    If they keep a safe distance when behind a cyclist, wait for suitable gap before overtaking, and leave a suitable gap when overtaking they will be less of a problem than cars with drivers.

    Basically, if driverless cars are not selfish and impatient they won’t be much of a problem at all to cyclists. Quite the opposite.

  • TrevorHoldsworth

    Logically, this also infers that driverless cars will be the biggest problem for cyclists.

  • Fenix

    I’m sure bikes would be tricky for the car to deal with – but saying they don’t stick to the rules – well 100% of any population don’t. Cars, pedestrians, motorbikes – they don’t always stick to the rules.

    Bikes are manouverable, fast moving and vulnerable. The cars intelligence needs to cope with all of this and I’m sure in time it will.